Farinelli, seated with Lady amid Satirical Trappings and Symbols of his Wealth and Fame
Farinelli was the most famous of the castrati who became the objects of a cult of celebrity in early eighteenth-century London. The castrato voice combined the ability to reach a high register with great power and intensity. Farinelli lived in England from 1734 to 1737 and during that time received both large sums of money and lavish accolades for his performances. This satirical portrait is laden with innuendo, playing on Farinelli’s indeterminate sexuality on the one hand, and his attractiveness to women on the other.
YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART, PAUL MELLON COLLECTION